The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown

“The Officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried any colored person upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons”

Jim Crow Law regarding burial

I looked up the Jim Crow law……I wrote the words, then I cried. When I finished reading The Forgotten Girl I fell down the rabbit hole of the internet. I wanted to read everything that I could find about abandoned segragated graveyards. I needed to know that something was being done to help find all the people that had been lost and forgotten in time. The African-American Burial Grounds Act was introduced to the house on 02/13/2019 as of 12/22/2020 it is being held at the desk. I have no idea what that means. While I was researching the lost segregated graveyards, I thought about my uncle. I am know where he buried, it is a beautiful military cemetery, with lush green grass and large trees. There are soldiers of every race around him. I don’t know what I would do if he was lost. But if he had passed during the time of Jim Crow there is a good chance he would have been. You see my uncle is black. The idea that he couldn’t be buried near my aunt by law is something that I can’t even fathom.

Thank you to my LOVELY Pima County library for always making sure that there are diverse books for the children in our community.

Synopsis: A young girl and her best friend discover a forgotten graveyard.

What I liked: Holy hell there were a lot of things that I loved about this book. I think it is a wonderful own voices book for middle grade readers. The characters are relatable and 3 dimensional. The story it self is paced beautifully. Something I also truly enjoyed about this book is the boy and girl friendship. There was no pre-teenage romance angst. It was just a beautiful friendship. The friendship between the families is something that I really appreciated as well. We see a lot of dysfunctional families in literature and not enough good family dynamics.

What I didn’t like: There isn’t anything that I didn’t like about the story.

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: There is a lot to unpack about this story. I really enjoyed the way that Brown brought social issues into this story. Whether it is girls of color are more harshly disciplined in a classroom setting to Jim Crow Laws and the desegregation of schools. As I am not a person of color I can’t speak to many of these things as I do have a privilege. However, I think this story really hits many of this issue in a way the is understandable to any reader. Many of the themes of friendship, being bullied and familial love are universal and are worked in the story with love. Another theme that Brown really works into the story so wonderful is that of a girl and self esteem. The age group that this book is aimed at is when a girls self esteem really begins to take a nose dive. I also loved the idea of community that was discussed through the story as well.

What I am a little disappointed about is that I haven’t seen this book ANYWHERE. That is disappointing. This is a beautiful story that can will send people into a rabbit hole on the internet. The African American Burial Grounds Act is something that needs to be discussed and highlighted.

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

I love stories with strong and quirky characters. I also love when the main character has a buddy that partakes in their adventure. I also love a book where an animal is actually a character in the story. Not just fodder that barks at the monsters. This is something that I really enjoy about Kingfisher’s stories. Her characters are so human. I also read her other book The Twisted Ones, which I loved.

Synopsis: Following her divorce a woman moves into a room in the back of her uncle’s oddity shop. And weird things happen.

Things I liked: There are so many things to love about Kingfisher’s writing. The first is the use of place as a character. I have said this multiple times but that is something that I really enjoy. The oddity shop isn’t just words or the backdrop. It is part of the story. It is a character, it comes alive and I love that. The pacing was perfect for me. Kingfisher is really great at the build up and the reveal. It is like something that is niggling at the back of your brain as you are reading. Her writing makes me so happy.

Things I didn’t like: Nothing

Star Rating: 5

My Thoughts: My what I loved was basically becoming my thoughts. So, I moved things around. I lover her characters. They are quirky and honestly you want to be friends with them. They are likable and flawed. But they are so well written. There is such curiosity and a sense of adventure in her characters. I really appreciate that they have friends. These friendships aren’t fake but are really believable and relatable. I also appreciate her treatment of animals in her stories. They aren’t fodder but rather their own character which you are rooting for the entire time. They are pretty badass in their own right. I really hope that she keeps writing these wonderful stories.

***FYI I am aware that T. Kingfisher is a pen name for Ursula Vernon****